What happens after the assessment?

After the assessment is concluded a report will be prepared and circulated in line with parents/carers wishes. Young people will also be consulted about circulation if it is appropriate.

In some circumstances, the assessment cannot be concluded. Your lead clinician will discuss the period of time that is required before a conclusion may be reached and what needs to happen during that period of time.

Appointments are scheduled well in advance. It is very important that you let us know if you cannot attend immediately so that the appointment can be offered to another family.

Who makes the diagnosis?

The clinician leading on your child’s assessment is responsible for gathering all the evidence to match against the diagnostic criteria. All assessments meet the requirements of the DSM-V criteria for the assessment and diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders. The lead clinician gathers information, carries out assessment and involves colleagues from other disciplines as required.

The service works to the standards of the NICE guidelines.

What is the diagnosis based on?

The diagnosis of Autism is based on evidence gathered on the two areas associated with Autism.

  • Difficulties with social communication and social interaction
  • Restricted or repetitive patterns of behaviour or interest, including differences in sensory processing

Based on the diagnostic criteria, if an autism diagnosis is given it will be described as ‘Autism Spectrum Disorder’. We do not use severity ratings when giving a diagnosis (e.g. ‘mild’, ‘moderate’, ‘severe’, ‘high functioning’).

Some children and young people have an additional co-occurring diagnosis.

If your child does not receive a diagnosis of autism your case lead will discuss with you the reasons for this and any alternative diagnoses that may need to be explored.

How is the information from the assessment shared?

All outcomes of the assessment will be discussed and explained to parents and the child/young person if appropriate. All parents will receive a written report explaining the outcome of their child’s /young persons assessment and this report will be circulated by agreement as it is helpful if all professionals involved in a child’s care receive the assessment report.

What happens if a diagnosis of Autism is not the outcome of the assessment?

Once the assessment is completed a range of explanations for a child’s difficulties will be considered. A diagnosis of an Autism Spectrum Disorder can only be given if there is no alternative explanation for difficulties.

There is a range of neuro-developmental difficulties where presenting symptoms are similar to difficulties associated with Autism. For example, difficulties may indicate dyspraxia, ADHD, Speech and language difficulties, sensory processing disorders, specific learning difficulties or mental health concerns. Any alternative explanations for difficulties will be explained to parents/carers.

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